Great Care Family Dentistry offers a wide range of dental services to meet the needs of your entire family. We’re happy to assist you with regular checkups and cleanings, as well as restorative and cosmetic procedures. Whether you’ve got a terrible toothache or need to get your child started with cleanings, we’re always here to answer questions and set up an appointment in our general dentistry office.
Here are some of the most common dental treatments we perform for our patients:
Getting your teeth cleaned in a dentist’s office 1-2 times a year helps to maintain good oral health. Cleaning breaks up plaque that can collect on teeth (yes, even if you always brush and floss). It also has cosmetic benefits, as the cleaning reduces tartar or hard deposits that may discolor your teeth. Additionally, your family dentist and oral hygienist will examine your teeth during and after the cleaning, and this will help us to identify any potential problems early. For instance, we sometimes find small cavities during cleanings, and by filling them, we can prevent the decay from spreading and causing a painful infection later.
Despite the many benefits of tooth cleaning, the CDC reports that only about 63 percent of adults had even one dental visit in the last year, and about 37 percent had no cleanings. This may be due to multiple factors, including busy schedules, difficulties with insurance coverage, or a simple lack of urgency – if your teeth aren’t hurting, you may feel that you don’t need to see a dentist. But because regular cleanings prevent serious problems, we encourage you to make an appointment. Our office accepts PPO insurance, discount plans, and Georgia Medicaid policies, and our staff is available to answer questions about insurance coverage. We’re also happy to find an appointment time that fits your schedule.
Many substances can cause yellowing or discoloring of the teeth, including foods, beverages, cigarettes and nicotine products, and even some medications. Sometimes people turn to at-home whitening kits or toothpaste, but these are not always effective. They are typically peroxide-based, like the professional whitening treatments we offer in our Great Care dental office. However, there is a significant difference in efficiency because over-the-counter products only contain small amounts of peroxide. These kits are designed to be used at home, without access to the tools and equipment available in a dentist office, and as a result, some of the cleaning product may get on the gums.
The problem is that concentrated amounts of peroxide can burn the sensitive tissue of the gums, so home whitening products must be very diluted in order to be safe. But in our office, we can use a dental dam to protect the gums and isolate the teeth, allowing us to use a concentrated peroxide product to quickly and significantly whiten your teeth. We also use a high-intensity light to speed up the chemical reaction as peroxide breaks down tooth stains. As a result, our in-office whitening treatments will help you get your teeth noticeably whiter much faster than at-home kits.
Sometimes a tooth becomes badly damaged or infected, and a root canal procedure to preserve the tooth is not possible for various reasons. In this case, it is necessary to remove the tooth. We’ll make sure that your mouth is numb for the procedure, and sedation is available if necessary. After the tooth is removed, we can also place an implant or bridge to fill the gap if needed.
Mouth guards are plastic devices placed in the mouth to protect teeth during contact sports or any activity with a risk of mouth injury. You can buy a “stock” or ready-to-use mouth guard at any drug store, but these are not specific to your mouth and fit most people poorly. An improperly fitted mouth guard can easily come out, or may only cover part of the teeth when it’s in, leaving you at risk. “Boil and bite” guards allow you to soften the plastic in boiling water and then “mold” the protector to your own mouth, but even this only approximates a good fit. A custom mouth protector made in our office is built by pouring specialized materials over an impression we take of your teeth. It is made specifically for you and provides the best fit possible.
If you are a tooth grinder, we can also make a special type of mouth guard called a bite splint to help protect your teeth from wear and tear during night grinding.
Filling a cavity, or a decayed area of a tooth is an easy way to prevent a very small problem from becoming a very big one. Once bacteria decay an area of the tooth, this decay will continue to spread, sometimes for weeks or months. Eventually, the cavity becomes large enough to be seen by the naked eye. If left untreated, the decay may advance into the pulp, a collection of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that exists below the harder, outer layers of the tooth. The resulting infection, pulpitis, is sometimes treatable in the early stages, but usually, by the time the patient comes to see us about pain, it has reached an irreversible level. At this point, there is nothing left to do but remove the tooth or perform a root canal. However, this process can be prevented by catching decay and treating it early.
As mentioned above, this procedure allows us to treat irreversible pulpitis while saving the tooth. A root canal is usually preferable to extraction if there are no factors to prevent it because pulling a tooth can cause changes to your bite as well as leaving a noticeable gap.
In a root canal procedure, we will drill into the tooth and clean out the diseased pulp and root, removing all the decay. Next, we’ll fill in the root with inert material, then fit you for a crown, or a permanent covering to protect the weakened tooth.
Some people experience pronounced anxiety about visiting the dentist, either due to a phobia or to past experiences. Others may have a poor response to local anesthetics or extremely sensitive teeth, or they may be having a lengthy and stressful procedure. People with certain disabilities may also struggle to remain still during a procedure. In all of these situations, sedation dentistry can make you more comfortable and help the treatment go more smoothly.
There are several types of sedation we may use, depending on your situation:
- Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas.” This gas enters your system quickly and puts you in a more relaxed state within minutes. When the procedure is finished, we can give you pure oxygen to reverse the effects, and you’ll even be able to drive yourself home. However, nitrous oxide is not ideal for everyone.
- Oral conscious sedation uses anti-anxiety medication, typically in the benzodiazepine family, such as Halcion, Ativan, or Valium. Adults are usually prescribed the medication in pill form and told to take it half an hour before the appointment, while children may be given a liquid formulation. You may feel drowsy or fall asleep during your appointment, but we will be able to wake you. These medications can cause grogginess and do not wear off immediately, so you will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment.
- IV sedation. This uses a strong medication delivered by IV to put you into a deep state of relaxation while we monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. Most people sleep through the procedure and do not remember anything after having IV sedation. It is sometimes used for lengthy procedures or situations of severe dental anxiety.
We’ve talked about using dental procedures to prevent or treat oral health issues, but there are other reasons to see a family dentist. Sometimes patients simply aren’t happy with how their teeth look and may be embarrassed in social situations. Patients may even tell us that they don’t like to smile and show their teeth.
Cosmetic issues can happen for a variety of reasons, from crooked teeth to chipped ones, and in most cases, we can recommend a procedure to improve the appearance of your mouth. Possible treatments may include dental bonding, porcelain veneers, tooth contouring, gum contouring, and tooth whitening. To find out which treatment might work best for your situation, please call us to set up an appointment.
Porcelain and Implant Crowns
Porcelain crowns are one of several types of coverings that may be fixed over a damaged tooth or one that’s had a root canal. The porcelain is very hard and protects the tooth from harm or infection.
Implant crowns are sometimes used when a patient has a tooth pulled and wants to replace the missing tooth with an implant. In this case, instead of capping a weakened tooth, the crown, sometimes called a dental implant, is attached to an implant which is then screwed into the jawbone (you will be numb for this procedure).
A dental bridge is another way of dealing with a missing tooth, as long as the gap is between two other teeth. The teeth supporting the “bridge” are usually crowned, then cemented to a false tooth placed in the middle. Because the false tooth is anchored by the surrounding teeth, it isn’t screwed into the jawbone. This may be preferable for patients who have bone or jaw issues.
Contact Great Care General Dentistry Clinic in Gwinnett Today
No matter what procedure you need, our staff will work hard to diagnose your dental difficulties and recommend an effective treatment. Please contact us today to make an appointment.